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Roland Paperback – Jan 1 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 238 pages
  • Publisher: Lulu Press (Jan. 1 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1411603869
  • ISBN-13: 978-1411603868
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 15 x 22.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 358 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Format: Paperback
There are plenty of books out there these days that are "professionally" cranked out. An editor at a publisher aiming for the mass market might have sliced off a lot of the words Jonjak uses here to harp away on certain points about the flaws he sees in our society. More likely, they would have burned it because it bashed all the values that any self-respecting American business holds dear. I'm glad he put this out himself so that didn't have to happen. The final product that is "Roland" is one gutsy, ugly, truth-filled novel that I would reccommend in a heartbeat.
This does, as one other reviewer said, read as if it's a collection of short stories on one level... "Betrayed By PBJ," an experience shared between Roland and a peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I would be remiss in ruining for you, for example, stands quite well on its own... but that said, they build on each other, and would mean much less if they weren't together.
The incidents that occur here are often very, very contrived - he gets stuck in an elevator with a rich CEO, he encounters two priests and a nun in a diner, he is let out of a police car after being arrested because they are distracted by a riot - but it doesn't matter, because the plot is not the point. The ending of this book is not "satisfying" in the same way as most consumer-oriented art, but satisfaction is not the point, either. Within a day of reading this book (which didn't take very long; it's quite a page-turner), I had spent three or four hours in passionate argument about the ideas inside of it. It said things that people aren't just afraid to say, but afraid to see. Agree with it or not, and sometimes I didn't, the courage contained in "Roland" makes it an incredibly worthwhile read.
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Format: Paperback
Roland is the latest work from a prolific independent writer, Ben Jonjak. Like most of Jonjak's work (at least the small bit of which I've seen) Roland is pure energy. It's gut-wrenching honesty thrust into your face with reckless-yet-heartfelt abandon.
Despite the book's disclaimer that the author doesn't care about typos, etc. (and I personally dont care much about them either) I took a half-star away for the sheer quantity of them. But then another half-star was added because the author (according to the jacket) is a wolf and as such it must be fairly difficult to type (although, from the author photo, I would say he looks more like a German Shepherd).
What I loved about Roland was the raw emotion and the non-traditional viewpoint of Roland's life that we are given. Rather than following typical "rules" of writing, and giving us perfectly timed plot-points and carefully paced story-lines, Roland is presented as small snippets describing various aspects of Roland's life. If you were to empty a case file of a psychotic, paranoid schizophrenic... well, you just might find this book.
It read like a series of short-stories, and I found myself skipping ahead and reading chapters out of order. It remained enjoyable nonetheless, and is a testament to how a writer needn't always follow form to create an excellent book.
A small warning: it is not for the easily offended or weak-of-heart. Or maybe it is, as the book is full of keen observations about human fallacy that hold some value, even if the lessons may be painful to some.
My only real criticism is that the intensity of those lessons may be too much. That is, the book may hold more value if the observations were handed to us more subtly, making us think about them each a bit more.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Roland - By Ben Jonjak Oct. 26 2005
By Glen Papenburg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I had no idea I was in for such a ride when I started this book.

Roland is not your normal person, although he sees things with a lot more clarity than the average person does.

Very gritty and somewhat disturbing. I totally enjoyed this book. It made me think. Elements of black humor made me laugh; which was helpful at times for the subject matter does get fairly heavy. Ben has a great imagination and a flair for the obscure while keeping his feet on the ground (proverbially).

I don't want to say too much about the story or subject matter. It touches on a range of issues on topics including but not limited to; chaos theorem, mental illness, society. I urge people to read this book and have a good look at themselves and see how they can better the lives of others.

In summation, this book is a learning experience. It did everything that a good book should in that it made me laugh, think and feel. Ben's writing style pulls no punches and is very entertaining.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
An Excellent Example of Indie Writing April 18 2004
By Eric D. Knapp - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roland is the latest work from a prolific independent writer, Ben Jonjak. Like most of Jonjak's work (at least the small bit of which I've seen) Roland is pure energy. It's gut-wrenching honesty thrust into your face with reckless-yet-heartfelt abandon.

Despite the book's disclaimer that the author doesn't care about typos, etc. (and I personally dont care much about them either) I took a half-star away for the sheer quantity of them. But then another half-star was added because the author (according to the jacket) is a wolf and as such it must be fairly difficult to type (although, from the author photo, I would say he looks more like a German Shepherd).

What I loved about Roland was the raw emotion and the non-traditional viewpoint of Roland's life that we are given. Rather than following typical "rules" of writing, and giving us perfectly timed plot-points and carefully paced story-lines, Roland is presented as small snippets describing various aspects of Roland's life. If you were to empty a case file of a psychotic, paranoid schizophrenic... well, you just might find this book.

It read like a series of short-stories, and I found myself skipping ahead and reading chapters out of order. It remained enjoyable nonetheless, and is a testament to how a writer needn't always follow form to create an excellent book.

A small warning: it is not for the easily offended or weak-of-heart. Or maybe it is, as the book is full of keen observations about human fallacy that hold some value, even if the lessons may be painful to some.

My only real criticism is that the intensity of those lessons may be too much. That is, the book may hold more value if the observations were handed to us more subtly, making us think about them each a bit more. For example, the following was given a whole chapter, although it could have presented in a much more subtle way:

"The people who surrounded the water cooler recognized the joke and recognized its affiliation with the TV program. They didn't recognize Fred Bartlett's cleverness because there wasn't any, but they recognized what they generally accepted in place of cleverness and so they laughed. Not because they were moved to laugh, but because the moment called for it."

By harping on a point for too long, the "Unconsidered Negative Effects of TV Imprinting" becomes something overly associated with the insane Roland and is therefore less of a statement about our true society.

Overall, I would recommend this to anyone who likes to think for themselves, doesn't mind some blunt and often negative energy, and who appreciates the quirkiness of true independent writing.

[Edit: Shameless self-promotion: my book Cluck: Murder Most Fowl is also an excellent example of independent writing, -edk]
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Touch me i'm sick. Feb. 23 2004
By ill-Eagle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Roland is an vicious attack on corporate greed and sleaze that infects downtown america. A thought provoking backlash from the mind of a lonesome outcast, struggling with his bitter fight of trying to fit in somewhere in modern society when the very thought of conforming makes him throw a stomach full of bile into the gutter where he belongs. Ben Jonjak's masterful novel proves that this guy is the voice of a new generation looking to at least make people stop and think, rather than copy what everyone else is doing. Think Confederancy of dunces mixed with Patrick Mcgrath's Spider. Buy it now.
absolutely worth reading Oct. 5 2004
By Nick - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This is not your average book. It's not some highly polished work of fiction you see being churned out in the mainstream nowadays. Sure those kind of book can be entertaining, but Roland is just good on a totally different level. Of course, Jonjak being and independent writer means it has it's flaws. But who cares! It's more than made up for by the quality of the writing. At times reading the book invoked some strong emotions in me, ranging from laughing out loud to bloody angry to utter depression. It can be beautiful, inspiring and sometimes downright funny. Like the other reviewers said, it is highly critical of modern society, and rightly so if you ask me! But it's not just bashing the way we live today. It's filled with the strong message that there are other ways. Possibly even better ways.

It's about a guy named Roland, who's quite crazy by all modern standards. Being a certified lunatic, he takes just about every psychoactive medicine known to man. This leaves it's mark of course, mainly in the regular appearance of figments of his imagination like `Defendorbots', dark cloud assasins, and of course the Leering Skull of All Things Evil just to name a few. Along with Roland's cynical interpretation of the people around him, this leads to some very amusing writing, which at times even reminded me of Douglas Adams' wacky style.

But as the book progresses, a more serious note emerges. The more you read it, the more you come to think that it is not Roland that is crazy. It's the world that's crazy! Is he really crazy to think it is immoral for the filthy rich to just sit on their money while there are millions of people out there starving to death? Is he really that insane to be content with a honest janitor job and sending most of his money away to charity? Roland doesn't want to conform to a world filled with greedy, shallow people frantically elbowing their way up the social ladder. And yet, he wants to fit in. To belong somewhere where people don't look down on him and scorn his ideas.

Most of the time though, he's just content with a pat on the shoulder from his imaginary friend Pinnacle Supreme. But saving the world from imaginary enemies, trying to convince people to see things his way and waking up in the gutter in some place he's never seen before doesn't make his life any easier. And of course it only gets worse when he falls in love.

Don't think it's some kind of finger waving do-as-I-say book though. It has burglary, extortion, the four horsemen of the apocalypse and even an ancient sword possibly forged by lightning! It ends in a grand, cataclysmic final battle because as we all know, "you couldn't end a movie without a great big shootout."

This book is definitely worth the read. It's a work of fiction with a strong wink at reality. Reading it leaves you looking just a little bit different at the world. Maybe even change your living room arrangements. On the other hand it's sometimes filled with eye-twisting, stomach churning action, all while being extremely comical.

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